[Todd Mayo's 23 foot three from behind the basket and his 3 FTs with 4.8 seconds left, put the game into OT.]
Mayo Time began with 35 seconds left when he hit a lay-up to cut the Wildcats’ lead to four points. After a missed free throw by James Bell, Mayo hit a jumper to make it 73-71 with 26 seconds left. After two free throws extended Villanova’s lead back to four, Mayo hit the shot of the day that sent the crowd of over 16,000 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center into hysteria.
Dribbling to his right, Mayo pulled up and sank a baseline three-pointer while fading away into the corner.
But he was just getting started.
After Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono made two free throws to make it a three-point game. Mayo pulled up once again from the right side of the three-point line, but was fouled by Arcidiacono and nailed all three shots to tie the game with 4.8 seconds left.
“I felt like we definitely had the momentum going into overtime, but we couldn’t get stops in overtime,” Mayo said.
Tony Chennault nearly won the game for the Wildcats by streaking down the court and banking a lay-up as time expired, but the basket was waived off thanks to Steve Taylor, who came over and took a charge.
The Wildcats proved they were the superior team in the extra five-minute period, outscoring the Golden Eagles 17-8 to hold onto a 94-85 victory that they almost let slip out of their hands.
[MU Coach Buzz Williams wearing pink sneakers in the Coaches vs Cancer Awareness Weekend.]
“What I told them after the game was ‘You played with great guts to get it to overtime and then you never got a stop in overtime,’” Buzz Williams said.
“I thought we were in a really good place,” Williams said. “Todd hit some really good shots to get it into overtime. I told them this morning I thought their mind space was good. We fought really hard to get it back.”
“Missing those free throws at the end hurt, but I was very proud of our resiliency to overcome it,” said Villanova’s head coach Jay Wright.
[#15 Ryan Arcidiacono sliced thru MU's defense for 20 pts, 11 Asts and 10-13 FTA.]
As good as Mayo was in the final minute, Ryan Arcidiacono was on another level in the second half, driving the lane and creating open looks for his teammates with ease. Arcidiacono scored 20 points, 10 from the free throw line, with 11 assists.
“To have a point guard like that, that just wants the ball in his hands, he’s a special player,” Wright said.
Marquette’s success comes from its stout defense and blue-collar rebounding, but those two aspects let the Golden Eagles down on Saturday. Marquette’s big men performed well defensively, holding JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu to just 17 points combined.
What Villanova lacked in the paint it made up for with its perimeter shooting. Darrun Hillard, James Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono combined for 70 of the team’s 94 points. Bell scored a career-high 30 points, while Hillard poured in 20 points, 12 of which came from behind the three-point line. The Wildcats were 10-for-28 from three, compared to just 2-for-11 for Marquette.
“They completely took over in overtime and Ryan was a big part of that,” Williams said.
[Davante Gardner led MU with a career high 29 pts]
Davante Gardner led Marquette with a career-high 29 points. Jamil Wilson scored 16 on 50 percent from the floor, but fouled out early in overtime.
The point guard situation didn’t get much clarity, as Derrick Wilson had another below-average performance. John Dawson played only eight minutes after being an instrumental part in Marquette’s come-from-behind victory over Georgetown on Monday.
Wilson scored six points with seven assists, but was torched regularly by Arcidiacono on the drive and struggled to keep up with the speedy sophomore. Dawson wasn’t much of a factor either, scoring three points.
“I thought Derrick was good,” Williams said. “Seven assists, five rebounds, I thought Derrick played fine.”
The loss drops Marquette to 3-4 in the Big East and represents another missed opportunity for the Golden Eagles to gain a reputable win on their tournament resume. Next up for Marquette is the Providence Friars, the hottest team in the Big East.
[MU Center Chris Otule puts in 2 of his 6 pts.]
“Now we’re playing the hottest team in the league,” Williams said. “They’re just as talented as Villanova, they don’t play nine guys, but they’re just as talented.”